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5 things to know from Day 2 of Browns rookie minicamp

Posted May 13, 2017

Jabrill Peppers, the ‘energy bunny,’ TE David Njoku continues to shine

1. Jabrill Peppers made his Browns debut and didn’t disappoint. The former Michigan safety, who signed his participation agreement after missing Day 1 of rookie minicamp, was all over the field Saturday afternoon and quite obviously loving every second of it.

“Oh man,” coach Hue Jackson said, chuckling. “He’s a football player.”

Peppers, one of Cleveland’s three first-round draft picks, also quickly took ownership of a leadership role of sorts.

"What you saw is why we put him on the team. He is an energy bunny,” Jackson said. “He likes playing the game. He likes to be around the football. He likes to be in the mix of it all. Those are the kind of guys that we put on this team, and I’m excited about that.”

Peppers, who will play strong safety for the Browns, will likely help with kick return duties and perhaps even some action on offense. Once described as the ‘ultimate Swiss Army Knife’ by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, Peppers also played linebacker in 2015 for the Wolverines.

2. Don’t blink, or else you might miss Myles Garrett hurling toward your quarterback.The Browns defensive end applied plenty of pressure on rookie signal-caller DeShone Kizer during Saturday's session. That is, after all, why Cleveland tapped him with the first overall pick.

“Did you see that guy coming off the edge today?” Jackson said with a wide smile. “Holy smokes.”

Garrett totaled 31 sacks in three seasons at Texas A&M.  

3. Much like Garrett, tight end David Njoku continued to shine after a head-turning display Friday. At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, Njoku is built like a power forward and moves like a track star (he was, after all, a high jump national champion in high school). But Jackson wants more from the former Miami standout.

“I like him, but he’s got to play consistently every play,” he said. “He’s taken a lot of snaps out there. In fairness to the guys, we didn’t have the numbers at tight end, so I know he’s a little tired. But it gives me a chance to love on him in a different way. You know, push him a little bit. That’s just what this is.”

4. Jackson stressed earlier that the biggest challenge facing Kizer, who had a mixed bag sort of day, is consistency. That was evident on Saturday after Jackson said the Browns threw “a ton” at Kizer in terms of the playbook.

“He handled it OK because I have to see how much he can handle and how much can he learn overnight, in the morning and go back out and do it at a high level,” he said. “That’s the challenge of playing quarterback as I said yesterday. There were some steps in the positive. There were some steps that he has to continue to work at. That is the evolution of a quarterback, of a young quarterback as they start out.”

Jackson has spent time tutoring the 21-year-old. "I'm not babying him, that's for sure,” he said, “because the other teams aren't going to baby him."

Kizer, whom the Browns scooped up in the second round, completed 61 percent of his passes for 5,805 yards, 47 touchdowns and 19 interceptions (plus 18 rushing touchdowns) in two seasons and helped lead the Fighting Irish to the Fiesta Bowl in 2015.

5. Speaking of quarterbacks, Jackson said it’s an open competition to be the team’s 2017 starter, but second-year signal caller Cody Kessler will have the first crack at it.

“Cody has done a great job. That’s really why I brought his name up first. He has really improved. He has worked his tail off,” Jackson said. “He deserves the right and the opportunity to walk into this building and walk out there first. They have to take it from him."

Kessler, who started eight games in 2016, will compete with Kizer, former Texans starting quarterback Brock Osweiler and Kevin Hogan.

“They better take it from him because I know him – he’s not going to give it up,” Jackson said. “It will be fun. That is what competition is all about. Until someone takes something from someone and shows that they can do it at a high level play in and play out, then we have to keep going in the direction where we’re traveling.”​

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